Thermal and electrical performances of semi-transparent photovoltaic glazing integrated with translucent vacuum insulation panel and vacuum glazing

Ali Radwan, Takao Katsura, Saim Memon, Ahmed A. Serageldin, Makoto Nakamura, Katsunori Nagano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The development of smart windows must provide low solar heat gain with a low overall heat transfer coefficient, avoid humidity and condensation in cold regions, generate clean electricity, and admit comfortable levels of daylight. Therefore, methods for integrating semi-transparent (or 50.8% transparent) CdTe solar cell strings-based glazing with structured-cored mesh translucent vacuum insulation panels and indium sealed vacuum glazing are described for modernizing smart windows. This study reports experimental and theoretical studies on the thermal and electrical performances of six different glazing systems. These systems include semi-transparent photovoltaic glazing (GPV), vacuum glazing (VG), translucent vacuum insulation panel (GVIP), semi-transparent PV with VG (VGPV), and semi-transparent PV with translucent vacuum insulation panel (VIPPV), and their performances will be compared with that seen with single glazing (SG). These glazing systems are designed, constructed, and tested using a hot box calorimeter, and with and without the effects of simulated indoor solar radiation. The center-of-pane U-values, the transient temperature variations of the inner and outer surfaces of the glazing systems, the open circuit voltages, the short circuit currents, the fill factors, and the steady-state temperature contours were determined. For the first time, the moisture condensation pattern is also depicted for these systems and will be of value for applications in harsh, cold regions. A 3D finite-volume heat transfer model is developed and validated with the experimental results, allowing comparison of the thermal performances of these glazing systems under ASTM boundary conditions. The results showed that the VGPV system achieved a lower U-value than did the VIPPV system. The steady-state center-of-pane temperature differences seen with a solar irradiation level of 1000 W·m−2 are 55 °C, 32.5 °C and 5 °C for the VGPV, VIPPV, and GPV systems, respectively. The validated center-of-pane U-values for the VG, VGPV, VIPPV, and GPV systems, each with dimensions of 15 cm × 15 cm, are predicted to be 1.3, 1.2, 1.8, and 6.1 W·m-2K−1, respectively. The results also show that the use of either the VGPV or VG systems eliminates moisture condensation. It is concluded that VGPV and VIPPV generate comparatively less power but provide higher thermal insulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112920
Number of pages22
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Early online date13 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


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